Wargaming Tradecraft: Colour Theory: Monochromatic


Colour Theory: Monochromatic

Choose a Hue, add White, Black, Grey
Burnetts Boards
This colour scheme is similar to Achromatic (Greyscale) except a single colour is allowed. You can still Tint, (Highlight) Shade or Tone. (Grey) There aren't many situations where you might use monochromatic colours, besides for artistic reasons.

Despite the unusual visual this creates, there are practical situations where you could use this theme, though probably limited to things like natural beast / alien armies like Tyranids or Legion of Everblight or uniform mechanized ones such as Tau and Battletech.

At first glance, you might think you can paint this like Near-Neutral and Neutral Achromatics, but that's not the case. Some similarities and differences:

Some movies pull it off too. Lighting is while, to not introduce
other colours. Clothes are white or black. Graffiti is done with
tones of green. Green doesn't get stronger than "dull".
Even skin tones have been adjusted closer to Neutral.
  • Unlike Greyscale you get to pick 1 colour to mix in.
  • Unlike Near-Neutrals, you only get to pick 1 colour.
  • Like Greyscale, you can't rely on other colour theories.
  • Unlike Greyscale and Near-Neutrals, you can use colour and bright colours to paint and contrast with.
  • Like Near-Neutrals, you're going to have to mix many of the colours.
Another route you can go is paint a Near-Neutral colour scheme using washed out tones, then use colour to contrast certain details you want to stand out.

Using Only Mixes

While you can use paints that approximate monochrome colours, the best way is to pick one base paint and mix it with white, black and grey.

Similarly, when I washed the mini, using green washes would break from the colour.

Instead, I used a Black Wash for the black, grey, white and dark green areas. Anything lighter green, I washed by thinning the main green. (Could have darkened it with some black before washing too.)

The same rules apply when highlighting the marine. I used the main colour and mixed it with white and light grey. Then used the light grey to highlight the black areas.

The monochrome look is really nice, mainly because it flows so well. Since you're working with a single colour, you don't have to worry as much about screwing up the composition.

Something that came up at the HOP was that this can be difficult to paint over the size of an army. That's true any time you're mixing paints, but has an easy solution - pick up some small paint pots from a dollar / craft store or clean out your old paint pots and mix paint for an army-sized project in these.

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